As someone who is starting to travel a good deal, you learn there are certain tricks that help you get around. One trick is to use rideshare services like Uber and Lyft to get you to the airport. They are typically just a hair more expensive than a shuttle service and by using them you can go straight to the airport rather than waiting for the shuttle to pick up other passengers.
Where Uber and Lyft can really be cool though is using them as opportunities to learn. Every person who drives for those companies has some sort of story to tell, and the conversations you can have can often times be amazing experiences to learn about a time or a place you did not know about. Don't get me wrong, they can be off the wall (I have had plenty of those), but if we stop and listen we can become better just from that small interaction.
Today, I had the pleasure of an Uber named Richard on my way to the Tampa Airport. We started talking about Florida, and eventually, we got onto how he ended up in Florida. He mentions casually that he moved to Florida from New York to Kennedy Space Center. I, of course, asked the obvious question, "Did you work for NASA?" Not only did he work for NASA, he was an engineer in the 60's. Yes were are talking man on the moon, Neil Armstrong age. He then proceeded to tell me stories of how once Neil landed, NASA shrunk. From there he got into running a Hess gas station where he could tell me stories of the gas crisis in the 70's, but it got even better when he moved into stories of the bar business in the 80's where he ran the bar the Tampa Buccaneers hung out it. As a former history teacher, I was mesmerized.
To me, this small interaction just proves that everyone has a story to tell. It may be small and crazy, but it is still their story. Think about how much better the world would be if focused in on this. By focusing in on these little moments and interactions we have every day we can learn and above all, we can focus in on the fact we are all human beings. We might disagree with one another on specific issues, but if we can see that human being in people maybe we can make that compromise that makes the world better.
As school leaders, I think we have to make opportunities for students to have those moments. It could be as big as talking one to one to someone who is an expert in their field of interest, or it can be as small as giving that small opportunity for kids from different backgrounds to connect. Whatever it may be, getting students to students to see everyone as people and see their story may be our most important job.